Since Blackberries do not support HTML email, I’ve been using Empower Mail Viewer as a plugin to help format and view HTML links in my emails. Recently I was shown BBSmart Email Viewer which is another plugin to help format and view HTML email. After installing BBSmart, it was very similar to the look and feel of Empower. At first, it was hard to tell a difference between the products. So I uninstalled Empower and used BBSmart exclusively to get a real feel for the product.
After receiving a few emails, it become very clear that BBSmart loaded HTML emails much quicker than Empower. While its loading, BBSmart gives you a progress bar showing how much has been loaded, which is a nice touch. Just like Empower, BBSmart also gives you the option of changing the background color, text color and fonts used when displaying emails. Empower seemed to have a little better font selection but I quickly found a font and size that worked for me. HTML formating was very clean and smart. All html links are marked accordingly, which is a nice addition. Any link will show up with the type after it in parentheses. As an example, web links show up as (link) and PDFs will show up as (pdf). This helps to know what your clicking on when your stuck on a EDGE connection. The one feature that had me hooked and sets itself apart was the ability to convert emails as either to-do’s or calendar entries. Being able to quickly turn any email into a to-do or calendar entry while on the move makes me much more productive. I live off my to-do list and this keeps me out of my Inbox and spending valuable time completing tasks.
The downfall for these features is the price, $24.99 where as Empower is $9.99. If your into GTD or highly productive, the ability to make emails into to-do’s and calendar entries is epic on a Blackberry. The price is easily justified and willmostly likely pay for itself. If your only after HTML support, while BBSmart does a better job of loading and formating HTML, the lower priced Empower will probably be enough. For me, I’m sticking with BBSmart Email Viewer.
Apple’s long awaited iPhone was released yesterday after much hype. From most of the reviews I’ve been reading, it lives up to the hype too. Even with all the glowing reviews, I’m going to pass on the iPhone, for now atleast. My dependance on my Blackberry is enough to keep me away. I currently have a Blackberry Pearl and I’m still In love with my phone after 9 months. Its coming up on having the phone for a year so I’m itching for a new phone but the iPhone’s lack of Exchange or OWA support makes it a deal breaker to me. I’m definitely jealous of anyone who has an iPhone but I can’t justify paying $600 to lose a feature I depend on so much.
On a side note, its been confirmed that a 2nd gen Blackberry Curve will be coming to T-Mobile in September. I will be getting this phone once its released for sure. New features in the updated Curve include:
- 3.2MP camera
- Stereo Bluetooth
- Improved build quality
As long as I’m at my current job, I’m going to be sticking with a Blackberry but damn do I want a iPhone.
Lack of HTML formated email on your Blackberry got you down? You’re not alone. Due to security concerns, Blackberry’s do not offer HTML support in emails at all. Even in its consumer phones, the Pearl and Curve, HTML email isn’t even an option. Unfortunately, a lot of email sent these days have some sort of HTML in them and the lack of support makes those emails hard to read when using a Blackberry.
Enter the Empower HTML Mail Viewer. This piece of software installs as a plugin to the Blackberry mail client and displays HTML formated email the way it was meant. The product is in beta and its shows.There have been some obvious problems with previous builds. Fortunately the latest beta has fixed most of the bugs that caused me to disable the plugin while I was testing it. The only issue I have left is pictures do not display at all. You just get an outline of a box. The program is yet to be perfected but even in the beta form, its usefulness easily outweighs some minor issues. If you want to enter the world of HTML email, just point your Blackberry to http://www.getempower.com/emv.php and install OTA. I would be sure to bookmark the page and check back for any updates as there has been 2 in the last week that have fixed numerous bugs.
I’ve whipped up a Workflow for encoding videos for the Blackberry Curve. You will need to head over to my post on encoding video for the Blackberry Pearl for instructions but here is an updated Workflow that should format videos to the correct screen size. I do not have a Curve to test this so if anyone has one and would like to give me feedback, I’d appreciate it.
[Download Workflow for Blackberry Curve]
I had a interview for an upcoming article in the Wall Street Journal today. They are doing a piece on first time Blackberry users. Not sure when the article is going to be published but I’ll blog the link once its live.